In this retrospective European multicentre study evaluating surgical treatment of 169 patients with a complex ventral incisional hernia, robotic-assisted laparoscopic transversus abdominis release results in a significant decrease in duration of postoperative hospital stay, and short-term postoperative complications when compared with open transversus abdominis release.Background Transversus abdominis release (TAR) is a surgical technique used in the treatment of complex ventral hernias. The aim of this study was to compare outcomes of open (oTAR) versus robotic-assisted (rTAR) posterior component separation by TAR. Methods Consecutive patients at two European hernia centres who underwent bilateral TAR were included. The primary endpoint was the duration of postoperative hospital stay. Results Data from 90 rTAR and 79 oTAR operations were evaluated. Patient demographics were similar between groups in terms of age, sex, BMI, and co-morbidities. There were more smokers, and hernias were larger in the oTAR group (width 8.7 cm versus 10.0 cm; P = 0.031, length 11.6 cm versus 14.1 cm; P = 0.005). Duration of postoperative hospital stay was significantly shorter in the rTAR group (3.4 days versus 6.9 days; P < 0.001). Short-term serious complications (Clavien-Dindo grade III and above) were more frequent (20.3 per cent versus 7.8 per cent; P = 0.018), and there were more surgical site infections (12.7 per cent versus 3.3 per cent; P = 0.010) in the oTAR group. During a median follow-up of 19 months in the rTAR group and 43 months in the oTAR group, reoperation (4.4 per cent versus 8.9 per cent; P = 0.245), and recurrence rates (5.6 per cent versus 5.1 per cent; P > 0.009) were similar. Conclusion Patients with ventral incisional hernias who undergo bilateral rTAR had significantly shorter postoperative hospital stays and fewer short-term complications compared with patients undergoing bilateral oTAR.